Tuesday, September 30, 2008

tales from the hood: brain-mouth filter

Today's installment is about this little thing we like to call the "brain-mouth filter." This magical device is situated inside our brains and it keeps the things that are going on inside our heads from coming out of our mouths. The adults* in our program actively use this device on a daily basis. Oh, what our mouths would like to say, but our trusty brain-mouth filter brings to a screeching halt. Here are some examples:

Example 1
Me: Tez, what do you call the part of your body attached to your ankle?

Tez: (eye roll) Aw man G, that's easy! It's my foot.

Me: Okay, good. Now, what do you call both of the body parts attached to your ankles.

Tez: Feets!

Brain-Mouth Filter: Oh' sweet Jesus help me not lose it!

Me: Tez, the word is feet. F-E-E-T. There isn't an "S" on the end of that word. Now you try.

Tez: Feets!

Brain-Mouth Filter: (sigh) *#$@!

Me: No, Tez. Let's try this again. One of those body parts is called a "foot" (I write it on the board). Some words, when you make them plural, or more than one, you DON'T add "S" to them. You need to change the spelling of the word to make them plural. The word "foot" is one of them. You have to change the two o's to two e's. More than one foot is said "feet" (I write it on the board). Now, you try.

Tez: Feets!

Brain-Mouth Filter: Stupid, stupid, stupid English language (bang head against wall)!

Me: Forget it Tez, it's okay. We'll try again later.**

Example 2

Me: Darius, please don't start undressing until you get into the locker room. I don't need to see that much of you.

Brain-Mouth Filter: Nor do I want to....

Darius: Aw man Miss G, it's not like you haven't see it before!

Me: That may be true Darius, but I did not ask to see your bare chest, so please put your shirt back on until you get into the locker room (he puts his shirt back on). Thank you Darius.

Brain Mouth Filter: You are sooooo going to get arrested for indecent exposure at some point in your life!

Darius (from the inside of the locker room): MAN! I hate getting dressed in here. It's so claustrophobic up in here. We can't get dressed out there because someone doesn't want to see my giant WIENER!

Me (yelling from outside the locker room): No thanks! I appreciate you saving me from that experience! Good vocabulary though...nice use of claustrophobic!

Brain Mouth Filter: (hilarious laughter) He did NOT just say wiener!?!

And lastly....

I came home from work today to find this flyer in my mailbox. Yup, that's right. Handguns and Rice Krispies my friends. Now, my students can Snap, Crackle, and "Pop" each other over their breakfast cereal! For crying out loud, what is this world coming to?!

*We try to teach the students to use this device too, but they haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet. It's an uphill battle. It doesn't stop us from trying though.
**Tez is a 9th grader that came to us mid-year last year. We have had this conversation many, many,(sigh), many times.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

irksome ike

If my regular readers are observant, they might be wondering why I didn't post a race report for the Lewis and Clark Half Marathon that I was registered to run on the 14th. The side bar list of my races completed has a nasty "DNS" next to it. So, here's the scoop...

Katie and I picked up our race packets the day before at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles. We took the requisite Runner Dork pics. I discovered that my race bib was #2!!! HOW COOL IS THAT?!?! Well, as a HUGE Runner Dork, I was jumping up and down with glee with that bib number. No, I don't have a particular fondness for the #2. I play a game during longer and crowded races. It's the "Find the Lowest Bib Number Game." Oh' don't judge...you know you secretly do the same thing...or some other variation of some stupid game. We all do weird things to pass the time during a long run.

The next morning came early...very early...3:30 a.m. early. I awoke to the lovely sensation of a sore throat that felt like I was swallowing sand laced with shards of glass. I drove to Katie's place, where we switched cars and her parents drove us to the race. It was pouring rain when I left my house. It turned into a light drizzle at Katie's place. By the time we got to the exit for the race start, it was an all out scary storm. We kept trying to make light of the situation by saying how cool of a race story it was going to make...we ran in a tropical depression! Katie's dad kept telling us to fudge the story a little and call it Hurricane Ike, since technically it was Ike...just down-graded.

It took us a better part of an hour to get from the ramp to the parking lot. The race had already started. We had timing chips, so it didn't really matter that we were late. The parking attendants were standing knee deep in water. Katie's dad parked by a Johnny on the Spot. He opened the door to make a mad dash to the "spot" and the wind nearly took the door off. Katie got a text from a friend who was watching her fiance run the marathon. She reported that she saw a girl run by in waist deep water. I looked at Katie. She looked at me. I said, "Aw Katie, this is your call. I've done this before. I know this is your first half, and if you want to run, I'll run with you. It's your decision." She made the call and we decided that we would turn around and go home. I barely made it home. Several of the major interstates and highways were closed due to flooding. I had to take several detours and, once I made it to my town, considered abandoning my car and running home. It would have been safer. I had to get off the main road and leap frog from parking lot to street to parking lot to street in order to make it home without drowning my car.

By the time I got home, I was in full-fledged sicko mode. I slept for four hours on the couch. I woke up and got a text from my friend James who started the race and reported that they ended the race after 10 miles. He was on pace for a PR! He's a machine...who runs a PR in the middle of the remnants of a hurricane?!?! They had to reroute the course several times due to flooding. They lost radio communication and were not able to safely support the runners in case there was a medical emergency. We wouldn't have been able to finish the race anyway.

I was completely bummed that I didn't get to run it, after training for it all summer. However, my heart just broke for my friends that trained for it as first-timers and/or had trained for the full marathon. Katie ended up going home and running 13 miles anyway (see her "race report" here). Kyle sent me a text on his way home from the race, asking me if I knew of any half marathons coming up locally. He was already planning his comeback. Cheri (who weighs about 90 pounds...I'm surprised she didn't blow away) braved the storm and tried to power through to run the marathon, only to be cut short. James blasted through 10 miles, only to be forced to stop by race officials. Kristin and her husband were first timers and tearfully told me that "I already knew I could run 10 miles...I ran that last week! I just wanted to finish!" Dave, who stood up to his personal demons and chose sobriety, used his marathon training as part of his path to recovery. You all handled your disappointment with grace, humor, and integrity. Your perseverance through the training was amazing and I am so proud of you. I am honored and humbled to call you friends.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

bubba gets picked first in gym class

My school district has partnered with our health insurance company to sponsor a 200-day Wellness Challenge. Here are the rules:
1. Teams will be comprised of four staff members. Name your team***.
2. Each team must assign a Team Leader.
3. Individually track your steps on a daily basis with the provided pedometer.
4. Submit your tracking sheets with a monthly grand total to your Team Leader on the first of each month.
5. Winners will be announced at the Health Fair.

What do we win?...a $500 American Express gift card (split into 4 cards for each team member)...and bragging rights that will be celebrated for YEARS to come.

Before you read my comments below about my excitement over my first round draft pick, I want to preface it with how COOL I think this challenge is. I'm so happy that I work for a district that is encouraging their staff to practice healthy habits. I absolutely adore the people I work with closely on a daily basis. I want them to be around for a very, very long time. I'm all for helping all of us to lead healthier, more active lifestyles. All joking aside, I am so proud of everyone who signed up for this and they are all winners in my book for taking steps to improve their health.

Now, I was a girl who NEVER got picked first for ANY organized sport in gym class. I'm about as uncoordinated at team sports as a toddler...who is blindfolded and (if it wasn't considered child abuse)drunk. Lets face it, not many elementary and middle school kids are challenging each other to any endurance feat* during recess or P.E. class, so I never got my moment to shine.

Well, I would like to announce...MY MOMENT HAS COME!!!!

I am part of a carefully recruited team comprised of:
1. Rob...soccer player (part of an indoor league), softball player (part of two teams), P.E. teacher, and dog owner.
2. Derek...stepfather of an active youngin', therapist, and dog owner.
3. Tracy...my preggers boss (Tracy, I love you honey, but you are our handicap), and dog owner
4. Me...marathon runner, teacher, dog owner

Why we are going to kick-a##:
soccer + softball + marathon training + teachers** + therapist** + principal** + parent +7 dogs in need of walking= VICTORY!!!!!

Please forgive me for a moment here. I don't want to seem over confident, but I've NEVER been in a position to trash talk. I just need to do it...just this once. I need to do this for all the uncoordinated freaks out there who never got picked first to be on the team at recess. This one's for you...

We are striking fear into the hearts of many. The kick-off meeting was held two days ago. I walked in the room and immediately had several co-workers at other buildings pointing at me and asking me to join their teams. The middle school principal took one look at me and said, "Awwwww heck no. We already know this team is going to win...they got Betsy."

The following morning, I started my usual routine...I went for a run. I started my marathon training this week, so the mileage hasn't been that tough yet. I ran 5 miles. I had over 7,000 steps logged before I even got out of the car to enter the school building that morning. The students were curious about the pedometers. When they found out what we were doing, they got into the trash talking too. They kept taking polls on who had the most steps throughout the day and were reporting the updates to the other staff. By the time I made it to the after school meetings, I had over 12,000 steps logged. One of my friends who works in our program at the elementary school, looked at my pedometer as I was walking by and yelled, "OH MAN! THAT IS SOOOOO NOT FAIR! SHE HAS 7,000 MORE STEPS THAN I DO! SHE SHOULDN'T BE ALLOWED TO BE IN THIS COMPETITION!" I looked at her and laughed. I told her I worked really hard for those steps and every last one of them deserved to be counted. By the time I went to bed that night I had 15,661 steps recorded. I didn't have the heart to tell them that I had only just begun. God willing and barring any mob action knee cap busting, between now and the end of the competition, I will have trained for and competed in a full marathon, two half marathons, a 15K, a 10 mile river road run, and a winter long-distance race series.

Here's to you Bubba...it's been a long time coming, but you finally got picked.

*Well, except for who can punch one another in the stomach the most before someone yells "UNCLE!"
** "Teacher," "therapist," and "principal" are all job titles at my school for people who chase kids down = automatic step bonus.
***We need a good team name and t-shirt idea....Please send me suggestions!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

lousy lazy people

I have a bone to pick with the organizers of the Phoenix Rock n' Roll Marathon. I registered for the race this spring. The event isn't until January. I showed commitment. I decided I wanted to do it and went for it. Since then, I have received a series of emails from the marathon organizers with teaser topics like "Win a free Garmin!" or "Ultimate VIP Escape." Yes, they are offering a free Garmin:
Garmin Giveaway
Need a little extra motivation to get in shape or surpass your fitness goals? Garmin will help you keep track of your time, distance and speed throughout your training.

Now through August 31, Garmin is offering you a chance to win a top of the line Garmin 405 Forerunner!

Yes, they are offering a VIP escape to a fancy spa:
One lucky person will win the “Ultimate VIP Escape” prize package for two that includes 3-nights accommodations at The Arizona Biltmore, a $100 Gift Card to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, New Balance Running Shoes, Race Week VIP Perks
and more!

Now here's the lousy catch....if you read the "rules," if you registered before July 7th, you can only get the Garmin if you refer a friend to register for the race. You can't get the spa escape if you registered before September 1st...but you can get a chance if you get a friend to register.

SERIOUSLY!!!??!??! Where's the logic? Where's the love for the early bird?!?! Sure, you show automatic love to my late registering friends, but I have to be your little recruiter to reap the rewards?* Please feel free to tell me if I'm being a whiny baby about this....

*Yes, after I stop stomping my feet and pouting** for a few minutes, I will realize that I will reap lovely intrinsic rewards like a sense of accomplishment, continued perseverance, increased strength, endurance, new friendships, etc., etc., etc., for running the race. I know we don't run for the tangible rewards, but for the love of the sport.
**Sniff, sniff...waahh...but, but, but IT'S NOT FAIR!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

tales from the hood: dressing the part

Here's your next installment from a day in my life in the hood....

Me: Come on Ty'Esha, let's go!


Me: You can give your earrings to me and I'll put them in my pocket. I promise I will give them back to you after class. Come on, hurry.

Ty'Esha: I don't want to take them out, I need to change my earrings!

Me: What? Why?!

Ty'Esha: I want to change my earrings because these don't match my gym uniform.

Me: Awwww...come on, you've GOT to be kidding me. Ty'Esha...we're going to be late!


Me: (Sigh) Ty'Esha, honey, don't you know you look beautiful no matter what you have dangling from your ear lobes? Why do you want to look good for these boys*?


Me: Honey, if they don't like you because of your lack of earrings, you don't want to have anything to do with them. They need to like you just the way you are.

Ty'Esha: (eye-roll combined with a lot of foot stomping and a very poorly hidden smile) WEEELLLL, if they come in there, I'ma gonna run right in the locker room and put these back on right quick. I gotsta look GOOOOD.

*I'm not putting my male students down, mind you. She is always calling them "little boys" and usually won't give them the time of day. I was just throwing her own words back at her to see what she would say.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

tales from the hood

I've decided to start a new blog series about convos I have with my students. I *heart* them and I hope you find them as entertaining as I do. Today's installment happened today...and it just happens to be about running.

Andrew: Aw, maaaaaan! I hope we don't have to run outside today for P.E. It's raining and I just had my braids re-done.

Me: Come on Andrew! It's not that bad. I ran in the rain this morning! It can be fun!

Julia: Did you run a marathon?

Me: No, Julia I just ran 3 miles. I would have to get up at 2 a.m. to run a marathon before work.

Andrew: Doesn't your hair get ruined in the rain?

Me: No, my hair is different than yours.

Andrew: Oh. G, how long is a marathon?

Me: 26.2 miles

Andrew: Aw.....HEEELLLLL NO!

Bijon: Whoa.

Me: Andrew, language.

Andrew: I I I I I'm sorry G, my bad. (Andrew stutters horribly when he gets excited). What's the longest you've ever run?

Me: 26.2 miles

Andrew: Is is is is tttthat like from here to Alton?

Me: No. It's farther.

Julia, Andrew, and Bijon: AWWWWW....HELLLLL NO!

Me: Language.

Andrew: Ssssorry G. Sssso how far is it then?

Me: It would be about the same as running to the mall from here...

Andrew: NO WAY!!! G, THAT'S CRAZY!!!

Me: Wait, Andrew...I didn't finish. It's like running from here to the mall AND back...plus a few more blocks.

Andrew: AND BBBBACK? Oh, no. Oh no. Oh no. I could never do that G. You're going to live forever G.

About Me

My photo
I'm a teacher with a running problem, or maybe I'm a runner with a teaching problem...you pick.


races completed

A bunch of 5Ks...I've lost track over the years...

O'Fallon (IL) YMCA 15K Winter 2007

St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon (spring) 2007

Spirit of St. Louis Marathon 2007

Boilermaker 15K Roadrace 2007 (Utica, NY)

Lewis and Clark Marathon 2007 (St. Charles, MO)

St. Louis Track Club Frost Bite Series 2008


-10 Miles


-Half Marathon

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 2008

Route 66 Festival 10K 2008 (Edwardsville, IL)

O'Fallon (IL) Summer Sizzler 15K 2008

Lewis and Clark Half Marathon 2008 (St, Charles, MO: DNS-cancelled due to Hurricane Ike)

O'Fallon Fall Finale 15K 2008

St. Louis Track Club Half Marathon 2008 (PR!)

Mountain Home Half Marathon (Arkansas) 2008 (2nd in age group!)

Great River Road Run (IL) 10 miles

St. Louis Track Club Frost Bite Series 2008-2009


-10 miles

Phoenix Rock-n-Roll Marathon (AZ)

Go! St. Louis Half Marathon 2009

Kentucky Derby Half Marathon 2009

future races

race wish list

Big Sur Marathon
Disney Marathon
Nike Marathon
Marine Corps Marathon
Great River Relay
Bolder Boulder
Chicago Distance Classic